Consumer demand continues to rise, and so do the number of semi-trucks on Texas roads. Big rigs and other large commercial trucks crisscross the state in great numbers as companies do their best to keep supply levels up and customers happy. This demand also creates deadlines, and when truck drivers, shippers or trucking companies get in a hurry or fail to pay attention, they might not properly secure their loads.
If you see a semi-truck on its side or see cargo flying off a trailer, you have likely witnessed firsthand what could happen if a truck driver, shipper or trucking company fails to secure a load properly. Sadly, other motorists often don't have time to get out of the way of a floundering truck or flying cargo, and people have suffered injuries or lost their lives as a result.
Securing cargo properly has two main purposes. It protects products from damage during transport, and it ensures that trucks remain balanced and safe while in route. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets strict guidelines for truck drivers and shippers to follow (regardless of whether they are permanent, temporary or contract workers). These guidelines include:
- Use approved tie downs to secure cargo
- Attach tie downs to appropriate anchor points
- Verify cargo weight to determine the number of ties needed
Restrictions on weight
Various types of semi-trucks exist. Each has the ability to carry different amounts of weight. Trucking companies must ensure that each truck only carries the appropriate amount of weight for the type of truck.
Who is responsible if an accident happens due to weight or cargo securement violations?
When a truck driver, trucking company or shipping company fails to follow cargo and weight guidelines, items can shift during transport. This can result in extremely serious accidents. If this happens, the truck driver, the trucking company and the party that loaded the truck may each bear some legal responsibility.
Seek compensation for your losses.
The injuries and damages that result from truck accidents are often devastating to victims and their families. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in such an incident, an attorney with experience in these complex cases can explain your options for legal recourse.
An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate your case, including how the wreck has affected you physically and emotionally, and build a case against the responsible parties. A lawyer can also handle any communications and negotiations with insurance companies to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. If an appropriate settlement cannot be reached outside of court, a skilled lawyer can litigate your case in civil court to help you get the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.